January 13, 2012 10:34 am ET - by Julia Krieger
For some reason, when talking about pest control, the first thing that comes to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's (R) mind is immigration policy. Griping to WMAL's The Morning Majority on Wednesday about a Washington, D.C. law on pest control that he said signals "a triumph of animal rights over human health," Cuccinelli complained that the law is "worse than our immigration policy — you can't break up rat families."
BRIAN WILSON (HOST): Standing by on the line, just called in for a moment is Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of the United, of—not the United States—of the great Commonwealth of Virginia, who knows a thing or two apparently about rats. What is it that you know about rats that the rest of us don't know?
CUCCINELLI: Well, I saw the same rat story about D.C. that y'all have been talking about. What you may not know is last year in its finite wisdom, the D.C. City Council passed a new law — a triumph of animal rights over human health — where those pest control people you suggested they bring in aren't allowed to kill the rat. They have to relocate the rat and not only that, that's actually not the worst part: They cannot break up the families of the rat. Now, as actual experts in pest control will tell you, if you don't move an animal about 25 miles, it'll come back. And so, what's the solution to that? Well, cross a river.
BRYAN NEHMAN (HOST): Send them over to Virginia, that's right.
CUCCINELLI: So now guess why I care about that sort of thing?
MARY KATHARINE HAM (HOST): I bet!
CUCCINELLI: Anyway, it is worse than our immigration policy — you can't break up rat families. Or raccoons and all the rest and you can't even kill them. It's unbelievable. Unbelievable.
This isn't the first time a conservative politician has made a connection between human beings and vermin. Last spring a Kansas state representative suggested controlling undocumented immigration by "shooting these immigrating feral hogs" from helicopters, and in August a GOP attorney general from Nebraska compared raccoons to welfare recipients. In January 2010, South Carolina's Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer made the case against aiding the poor by likening federal assistance to feeding stray animals, saying that if you feed strays "they breed." U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) compared undocumented immigration to allowing "any kind of vagrant, or animal" into your home, and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggested using an electrified border fence because "we do this with livestock all the time."
In the context of Cuccinelli's career-long unabashed praise for harsh anti-immigrant measures, his readiness to associate immigration policy with pest control doesn't reflect positively on him. As a state senator, he once championed a bill to deny unemployment benefits to legal immigrants that don't speak English, and as attorney general he supported Arizona-style racial profiling.
It's worth noting that the very basis of the attorney general's comments is false. D.C.'s Wildlife Protection Act of 2009 explicitly excludes "commensal rodents," including both rats and mice, from protections extended to other wildlife.
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